Travel Photo of the Week: Halong Bay, Vietnam

This is the first of 52 weekly photos from 52 different countries, one of my 2012 New Year resolutions. Sign up to follow the blog if you want to see them all as the come! (Email subscription and feeds up on the right)

Recently Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay made some joker’s list of the new seven natural wonders of the world, based on internet voting or some such thing. Of the listings, a number of which are patently silly, however, this is arguably a fair selection. The expansive bay covers almost 600 square miles (1553 km²) and is filled with rising thrusts of limestone, many partly covered with foliage. There are almost 2000 of these karst islands, and some of them, like the one I’m shooting from here in the photo, have deep caverns inside. The geological story is long, starting 500 million years ago, and the results are some serious eye candy.

I cruised aboard the Emeraude, a replica of an old steamer of the same name that once cruised these waters. A nice overnight tour and I recommend it. On the boat tour they showed us the movie Indochine at night on the top deck. It was fun to be surrounded by the very same terrain depicted in the latter half of the movie.

Pictured here is the view from the entrance to Sung Sot Grotto (aka Surprise Cave) on Bo Hòn Island. (A similar photo of mine from this batch ended up as a two-page image in Porthole Magazine in 2011, my first full two-pager!)

I’ve got a number of blog posts about Vietnam plus a full article about the great beaches and colored dunes around Mui Ne

One down, 51 to go!

TRAVEL PHOTOS OF THE WEEK 2012: Week 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

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